Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), also known as sexually transmitted infections (STIs), are typically caused by bacteria or viruses and passed from person to person during sexual contact with the penis, vagina, rectum, or mouth. The symptoms of STDs/STIs vary between individuals, depending on the cause, and many people may not experience symptoms at all. Many STDs/STIs have significant health consequences. Together with other scientists' investigations at the NIH, the NICHD's research focuses on understanding sexual risk-taking behaviors that increase the likelihood of individuals contracting STDs/STIs, on developing more effective educational interventions to prevent STDs/STIs, and on defining the consequences and optimal treatments for STIs, especially in pregnant women.
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